Current Postings


The postings below are all still active, and organized by deadline. Once the deadline has passed, they will be moved to the IABA Posting Archive, on the CBR Webpage


Deadline for Submissions November 25, 2019

European Society for Research on the Education of Adults – Life History and Biography Network Conference 2020

Activism in a troubled world:  auto/biographical and narrative perspectives on struggles for the good and beautiful.

Canterbury Cathedral Lodge

Thursday 27 February to Sunday 1 March

We are pleased to confirm a Second Call for Papers  and the deadline for submission of abstracts for papers and proposals for symposia/workshops is now Monday 25th November.

Details of the call and how to submit a proposal can be found at …

Very best wishes

Alan, Linden and Laura

Dr Alan Bainbridge CPsychol SFHEA

Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Education
Canterbury Christ Church University
North Holmes Road
Kent, CT1 1QU

Telephone: 01227 782452
Twitter: @bainbridge­­_edu

Deadline for Submissions, November 29, 2019

Art and Action: Literary Authorship, Politics, and Celebrity Culture (11/29/2019; 3/20-21/2020) Oxford UK
The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH)
Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford

Writers and writers’ organisations have a long history of using their public standing and cultural capital to promote causes that transcend the literary sphere, from abolition and gender equality to free expression, anti-war agitation, and environmental issues. This two-day conference explores the intersections of authorship, politics, activism, and literary celebrity across historical periods, literatures, and media. It examines the forms and impact of authorial field migrations between literature and politics and the ways in which they are situated within, and shaped by, structural frameworks that include academic institutions, prize-giving bodies, publishing industries, and literary celebrity culture.

Authors have at all times been fiercely outspoken campaigners for a wide range of socio-political causes. At the same time, debates have long revolved around literature as a form of political intervention in its own right, thus undermining the seemingly clear-cut distinction between politics and poetics. This conference hopes to foster such debates and address a wide range of questions: What are the strategies employed by writers in the construction and performance of their public personae as political office-holders, activists, and cultural critics? How do they negotiate the tension between ethics and aesthetics in their public interventions, the potential conflict between authorial and activist selves? How have writers’ literary/political border-crossings been perceived by their audiences and to what extent have they affected their (posthumous) reputations? What are the risks faced by the politically engaged and outspoken writer?
Interrogating the ideological dimension of literary celebrity and highlighting the fault-lines between public and private authorial selves, ‘pure’ art, political commitment, and marketplace imperatives, this conference joins current debates on authorship and literary value. It brings together writers, academics, literary activists, and industry stakeholders to explore the wider implications of authors’ political responsibilities and cultural authority in today’s heavily commodified literary marketplace and age of celebrity activism.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

·       Authors as political office-holders / activists / public intellectuals: forms, manifestations, agendas, challenges of, and responses to, literary/political ‘double acts’ across historical periods, literatures, and cultural contexts
·       Literary celebrity and identity politics: how are the intersections of literary celebrity and politics inflected by categories such as gender, class, and ethnicity? To what extent do they map onto different national and cultural spaces?
·      Writers’ organisations, cultural institutions, and their political agendas: how do writers’ organisations capitalise on the celebrity status of particular writers and what are the potential pitfalls of this practice? What is the relationship between individual and collective agency?
·     The politics of market activism: what is the role of industry stakeholders (e.g. publishers, agents, translators, literary festivals, etc.) in enabling or inhibiting authorial migrations between literature and politics?
·      Literary prizes and politics: literary prizes as cultural consecrating agencies; literary award ceremonies as platforms for political intervention; (celebrity) prize judges as gatekeepers; the impact of literary awards on the cultural capital of winning and shortlisted authors
·   Authors’ political interventions and the media: the impact of transformations in media cultures, industries, and technologies (e.g. digital media) on the articulation and dissemination of critical stances and ideas within the public sphere
·      Literary celebrity, politics, and life-writing: How is the interplay of literary celebrity and politics negotiated and articulated across different life-writing genres? In which ways does the genre (e.g. memoirs, lectures, interviews, broadcasts, social media posts) shape these interrelations and the construction of authorial personae?
·    Authorship and political responsibility: What is the author’s political responsibility and cultural authority in today’s celebrity-driven media society? Is there a need for writers to step outside the literary medium? How do they reconcile their activities with a view of literature as political intervention in its own right?

Keynote contributions:
–        Benjamin Zephaniah (performance poet, activist, Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing, Brunel University London)
–        Antjie Krog (writer and scholar activist, TORCH International Fellow)
–    PEN roundtable discussion with Jennifer Clement (PEN International President), Carles Torner (PEN International Executive Director), Margie Orford (former South African PEN President), Rachel Potter (University of East Anglia), Peter McDonald (University of Oxford)

Please send your proposal (no more than 250 words) for 20-minute papers along with a short biographical note to by 29 November 2019; applicants will be notified by 20 December 2019.
Selected contributions will be considered for inclusion in a peer-reviewed collection or special journal issue.
For more information, and to register, please follow this link:
This conference is convened by Sandra Mayer (University of Vienna / Oxford Centre for Life-Writing) and Ruth Scobie (Mansfield College, Oxford) and supported by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW).


Deadline for Submissions, November 30, 2019

Conference on “Restoration Epistolarity”

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Erlangen, 27-28 March 2020

The changing media environment of the English Restoration brought forth a sizeable increase in various forms of literary culture, including the birth of large-scale periodical publishing and the ready availability of the letter resulting from the establishment of the Penny Post. Contrary to the widely held consensus that the letter promoted reliability, recent scholarship has stressed the form’s deconstructive potential, allowing both readers and writers to reflect on the mediated nature of writing and the tenuous relationship between sign and reality. At this conference, we will therefore discuss Restoration epistolary culture as intimately tied to media criticism, new forms of corporeality, and changing literary values. Papers on these and related aspects of seventeenth and early eighteenth-century forms of epistolarity are welcome!

Confirmed speakers:

Prof. Dr. Thomas Beebee (Penn State)

Prof. Dr. Helen Berry (Newcastle)

Prof. Dr. Markman Ellis (Queen Mary, U London)

Prof. Dr. Joe Bray (Sheffield)

Please send a 300-word proposal for a 30-minute presentation to both organizers, Jaroslaw Jasenowski ( and Gerd Bayer (, by 30 November 2019.

Deadline for Submissions, November 30, 2019

Deadline for Submissions, December 1, 2019

Call for Abstracts: Refugee, Migrant, and Displaced Motherhood in America (12/1/2019)

Contributions are invited for a scholarly edited collection that aims to explore literary accounts of migrant, refugee, and displaced motherhood in America. Refugees and migrants are often unseen, or worse seen as an inconvenience or imposition.  Migrant mothers in particular are often overlooked, with their experiences, their needs, and their lives nearly erased. Vu Tran says that “for those who can never quite accept her, a refugee is like a ghost” (p. 154).  This book seeks to examine writings by and about the displaced mother that make her part of a collective imagination, memory, and mythology of the American conscience.

Just as we see today in stories from the US/Mexican border, America is a nation of immigrants that continues to see complicated migration and immigration.  Indigenous mothers traverse complex paths at our Northern borders, and refugee mothers seek to resettle their families from wars and other dangers.

This book will look primarily at contemporary writings about migrant and refugee mothers in America. This collection is particularly interested in analysis of first-hand accounts of migrant motherhood, while also recognizing that the migrant mother is often silent. Therefore, analysis of both fictional and non-fiction accounts may be of importance as the collection pieces together the fragmented lives of migrant mothers.

Dina Nayeri has examined the refugee experience in both her fictional and non-fiction works, Refuge and The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You. In the latter, her non-fiction account, Nayeri talks about how her own mother made the brave decision to take her small children and leave home to ultimately settle in America.  Nayeri says of the refugee, “A tortured mind, terror of a wasted future, is what enables you to abandon home; it’s a prerequisite for stepping into a dingy, for braving militarized mountains” (p. 8).

The journey of the migrant woman is made evermore complex by her status as a mother, a child-bearer, and a woman at-risk. The borders of motherhood to be examined in this collection can be linguistic, political, and geographical, along with the complex physicality of moving through liminal and transitory spaces. Chapters may explore a range of topics from the mother figure in refugee children’s literature to ethnographic studies of migrant mothers in detention facilities.

I am in talks with several highly reputable academic publishers, including Bloomsbury, that are interested in the collection.

Possible topics might look critically at (but not limited to):

  • Narratives about or by migrant or refugee mothers
  • Fictionalized accounts of migrant motherhood
  • Reproduction and migration
  • Rhetoric of migrant motherhood
  • Family separation
  • Family resettlement
  • Research and qualitative studies on women’s experiences as migrant or refugee mothers
  • Refugee children’s literature and the mother figure

Tran, Vu. “A Refugee Again” In The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives, Edited by
Viet Thanh Nguyen, Abrams, NY, NY, 2018

Nayeri, Dina. The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You. Catapult, NY, 2019.
Refuge, Riverhead, NY, 2017.

1 December 2019: Deadline for submitting 250-400 word abstract of your chapter and a 50-word bio.

1 April 2019: Accepted and complete chapters due (6,000 words maximum with MLA format and references)

Submissions and questions should be sent to

Deadline for Submissions December 1, 2019

“I HAVE BEEN HER KIND.” HOW TO WRITE A WOMAN’S LIFE. THE ITALIAN PERSPECTIVE (12/1/2019; 3/26-28/2020) American Association for Italian Studies 2020, Tucson, Arizona

Carolyn Heilbrun thought there are four ways to write a woman’s life: the woman may do it as autobiography or as fiction; a biographer may tell her story or she may write her own life “in advance of living it, unconsciously, and without recognizing or naming the process.” This panel examines strategies of self-representation in (auto)biographies and novels by Italian women authors from the XX century to the present. We are particularly interested in the relationship between first and third person perspectives: What does it mean for a woman to write the life of another woman? We welcome papers that engage with literary theory (contemporary Italian feminism and queer studies, psychoanalysis) and comparative perspectives.

Please send a 150-200 word abstract and brief bio to the session organizer by December 1, 2019.

Organizer: Mattia Mossali, The Graduate Center – City University of New York,


Deadline for Submissions December 1, 2019

Call for Papers: “Mapping Black Women’s Lives”
Special Issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies
36.2 Spring 2021 Deadline: December 1, 2019
For this special issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, we seek papers that employ diverse and/or interdisciplinary methodologies to recover and situate (geographically and theoretically) Black female lives throughout the African diaspora. How do we write with and against archival silences and violences? What role does digitization play in making visible or further marginalizing Black women’s life writing? We are particularly interested in scholarly efforts that redefine, transform, or reform the spaces and places in which Black women’s cultural contributions were recorded (or not). Where and how do we map the lives of Black women? Topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Cartography, maps, mapping, and journeys in Black women’s life narrative
  • Forced displacements
  • Dangerous moves
  • Middle passages as trans-historical consciousness
  • Relationships between faith systems, movement and racialized geographies
  • Examining Diaspora through Life Writing
  • Travel to and through archives
  • How geography shapes who and what we recover
  • Global perspectives on mapping Black women’s lives
  • Methodologies for locating and mapping Black women’s lives
  • Pedagogical approaches to mapping Black women’s lives and/or reading journeys in Black women’s life narratives
  • Autotheoretical approaches to mapping and/or studying Black women’s lives in transit

Send original articles of 6000-7000 words (including works cited and notes), including keywords, an abstract, and a brief biographical statement to Kimberly Blockett ( We welcome essays that include images and are able to print in color without author fees. a/b also publishes ancillary digital and multimedia texts on the journal’s Routledge website. Inquiries welcome.
All essays must follow the format of Chicago Manuel of Style (17th edition). Essays submitted for the special issue, but not selected, may be considered general submissions and may be selected for publication. In order to ensure a confidential peer review, remove any identifying information, including citations that refer to you as the author in the first person. Cite previous publications, etc. with your last name to preserve your anonymity in the reading process. Include your name, address, email, the title of your essay, and your affiliation in a cover letter or cover sheet for your essay. It is the author’s responsibility to secure any necessary copyright permissions and essays may not progress into the publication stage without written proof of right to reprint. Images with captions must be submitted in a separate file as 300 dpi (or higher) tiff files with captions. Please indicate placement of images in the text.
Guest Editor, Kimberly Blockett, Associate Professor of English at Penn State Brandywine, is a C19 literary historian. She uses archives and cultural geography to examine black female movement and subjectivity. Blockett’s publications include MELUS, Legacy, MLA Approaches to Teaching Hurston, and the Cambridge History of African American Literature. The archival work for her forthcoming monograph and annotated edition of Zilpha Elaw’s Memoirs was funded by fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Smithsonian, NEH, and Harvard Divinity School.

Deadline for Submissions December 2, 2019

Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Alberta tied to Life Writing Projects (12/2/2019)

Hello Life Writing People,

My institution has two types of postdoctoral fellowships available–both are open to Canadians and non-Canadian recent PhD graduates. I can sponsor one person each if you want to study a life writing topic in the Department of English and Film Studies. The University of Alberta is a large state-sponsored research-intensive university. We’ve got the second-best academic library in Canada. Edmonton is a liveable city (we’re far north, but not that expensive). If you come here, you can be part of two life writing projects: the Stories of Change research group (humanists and social scientists working together about stories and social change in music, visual art, sociology, cultural studies and literature studies) and the Life Writing Virtual Network and Virtual Conference that I’m building as part of my Tory Chair.

Deadline for all documents is December 2, 2019. If you are interested (or you know a PhD graduate who is), read the links below and contact me–I can sponsor one postdoc each–so I’ll be sponsoring first-come first served. Winning isn’t guaranteed, but there’s a reasonable chance of success right now, so think about it!

Julie Rak
Henry Marshall Tory Chair
Department of English and Film Studies
University of Alberta
Humanities Centre 3-5
Edmonton, AB T6G 2E6, Canada


Fourth Annual Symposium Unhinging the National Framework: Transnational Life Writing
Friday, 6 December, 2019 Atrium, Medical Faculty Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Van der Boechorststraat 7 1081 BT Amsterdam

09.30 – 10.00       Welcome with coffee and tea

10.00 – 11.00       Opening Keynote Address + discussion
Prof. dr. Sonja Boon, author of What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home (2019), Department of Gender Studies, Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada

Speculative Lives: Haunted Yearnings for Impossible Pasts

10.45 – 11.30       Dr. Esther Captain (KITLV) and Dr. Guno Jones (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Postcolonial Transnational (Family) Histories

11.30 – 12.00       Coffee break

12.00 – 12.30       Dr. Karin Willemse, Department of History, Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Rotterdam

Re-membering Those Who Left: Abandoned Houses as Archives of (In)Tangible Nubian Heritage

12.30 – 13.00       Interview with Dr. Lizzy van Leeuwen, independent scholar and biographer, by Yvette Kopijn (University of Amsterdam)

13.00 – 13.15       Discussion

13.15 – 14.00       Lunch

14.00 – 14.15       Research pitches Unhinging the National Framework

14.15 – 15.15       Keynote Address + discussion
Prof. dr. Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford, England, biographer and author of fiction

Unhinging the National Framework through Curricular Change

15.15 – 15.45       Coffee break

15.45 – 16.30       Dik van der Meulen, biographer

King William III. A Boundless Royal

Dr. Monica Soeting, European Journal of Life Writing

Queen Emma, the Sweetest Grandmother of Europe

16.30 – 17.00       Interview with Dr. Frank Dragtenstein, historian and Surinamist, by Prof.dr. Susan Legêne (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Dr. Babs Boter
Lecturer in American and English Literature , Department of Language, Literature, and Communication
Faculty of Humanities
T +31 20 59 82814 | | WORKING DAYS: Mo, We, Th, Fr
MAILING AND VISITING ADDRESS: De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam
Twitter: @VUamsterdam


Deadline for Submissions December 15, 2019

Deadline for Submissions, December 15, 2019

Call for Book Proposals for the Real Lives in Global Perspective Series

Call for book proposals for the series, Real Lives in Global Perspective. Published by Routledge, the purpose of this series is to teach key social, economic, political, and cultural developments in world history to first year university students using parallel biographies as a framework. The books will juxtapose figures facing similar situations in different geographical regions, with one book for each century, each containing four pairs of biographies. The authors should be experts in the appropriate time period willing to research a variety of geographic areas.

Deadline: December 15

Contact Info:

Rebecca Boone

Lamar University

Contact Email:

Date for Conference December 16-17, 2019

Herstory Re-Imagined

A Conference on Women’s Lives in Biographical Fiction and Film

16-17 December 2019
Centre for Life-Writing Research, King’s College London
Convenors: Julia Lajta-Novak (Vienna) and Caitríona Ní Dhúill (Durham)

How do the lives of historical women become the raw material of novelists and filmmakers? This conference addresses the current boom in biographical novels and biopics about women’s lives, encompassing a broad conception of ‘woman’ that includes queer and trans life narratives. Figures as diverse as Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, poet Sylvia Plath, surgeon James Miranda Barry, painter Artemisia Gentileschi, and actress Jiang Qing are the subjects of fictions in various formats and degrees of literary ambition, while pilot Amelia Earhart, stateswoman Margaret Thatcher, blues singer Bessie Smith, and first lady Jackie Kennedy – to name just a very few – have been prominently re-imagined on the silver screen. This conference aims to bring studies of biofiction and biopics into close dialogue with gender-sensitive approaches to biography, so as to shed light on the interactions between life writing, fiction, and dynamics of gender.




Deadline for Submissions 12/20/2019

Oral History and the Media
OHS Annual Conference 2020
Bournemouth University
July 2020th and Saturday 4rdFriday 3

Oral history and the media have an important but complex relationship. The media has long been a significant producer of, and outlet for, oral history.  Classic radio and television productions like The Radio Ballads (1958-1964), Yesterday’s Witness (1969-1981), and The World at War (1973-4) pioneered the use of oral history in the media, giving voice to those who would otherwise have been excluded from both the media and the historical record. Since the 1980s, there has been growing use of oral history in TV and radio documentaries and storytelling, with oral histories now forming an important and popular dimension of history and factual programming and broadcasting. However, the methodological, aesthetic, narrative, and ethical decisions behind these productions – such as who to interview, what questions to ask, and what parts of the interviews end up on the “cutting room floor” – often remain hidden.

The relationship between oral history and the media can also be seen in how oral history has been used to explore the histories and experiences of the media itself, with oral history projects charting the development of media companies and organisation. This has coincided with an upsurge of interest in memory and nostalgia related to the experiences of media, such as memories of cinema, books and music.

Elsewhere, the advent of new media and social media has fuelled the growth of digital storytelling, interactive documentaries, as well as serialised audio podcasts which draw heavily on oral history testimony. Whilst these new technologies, formats and channels offer new ways of creating, disseminating and consuming oral history, they also raise vital questions about ethics, participation, expertise, audiences, and formats in oral history practice.

This conference aims to consider the relationship between oral history and the media, both historically and today, by exploring similarities, differences, opportunities and challenges between media practices and oral history practices, from interviewing to editing, audiences to ethics, covering topics such as:

  • The Use and Misuse of Oral History in the Media
  • Memories of (the) Media: Film, Books, TV, Radio, Theatre, Music.
  • The Influence of the Media on Memory: Mediated Memory and Prosthetic Memory
  • Oral History, Media and Editing: Soundbites, Vox-Pops and the ‘Cutting-Room Floor’
  • Oral History, Media and Interviewing: Intersubjectivity, Questions, and Emotion
  • Journalism, Crisis Oral History and Historical Distance
  • Oral Histories of the Media (professions, organisations and companies)
  • New Media, Social Media and Oral History
  • Changing Media and Formats and its implications for Oral History
  • Archiving, Preservation and Re-use of Oral Histories in the Media

The deadline for submission of proposals is 20th December 2019. Each proposal should include: a title, an abstract of between 250-300 words, your name (and the names of any copresenters, panellists, etc), your institution or organisation, your email address, and a note of any particular requirements. Most importantly your abstract should demonstrate the use of oral history or personal testimony and be directly related to the conference theme. Proposals that include audio playback are strongly encouraged. Proposals should be emailed to the ORAL HISTORY AND THE MEDIA Conference Manager, Polly Owen, at . They will be assessed anonymously by the conference organisers, and presenters will be contacted in January/February 2020

Deadline for Submissions December 23, 2019

Life Writing in Translation (12/23/2019; 5/27/2020) King’s College London / Centre for Life-Writing Research

As a one-day conference, Life Writing in Translation proposes to address such topics as:

• Stylistic approaches to translating life writing: using style to translate mind, foregrounding, ambiguous translation, belle infidèle, the implied translator

A reader of translation will receive a sort of split message coming from two different addressers, both original although in two different senses: one originating from the author which is elaborated and mediated by the translator, and one (the language of the translation itself) originating directly from the translator. (Schiavi 1996)

• Translating as re-writing: reconstructing the author’s image and lived experience, the translator’s impact, re-translation

In the case of translated autobiography, subtle variations of style may give rise to significant shifts in point of view that constructs a different persona of the autobiographer. (Xu Yun 2017)

• Cross-cultural translation of life writing: translator as the producer of relations – is the I international?

We receive these books newly made by the hands of translators, and the small contracts that those hands make, between translator and writer, reader and translator, language and language,
culture and culture, experience and experience are, as Edith Grossman puts it, as vital to our continued reading and writing, to the vitality of our language, our cultures and experiences as the books themselves. (Kate Briggs, This Little Art)

• Becoming one: the translator’s melding with the author and its curious consequences

Like the ghostwriter, the translator must slip on a second skin. Sometimes this transition is gentle, unobtrusive, without violence. But sometimes the settling in is abrupt, loud, and even disagreeable. For me, “plunge deep” tactics that go beyond the mechanics of translation help: coaxing out references to reconstruct the author’s cultural touchstones (books, film, music); reading passages aloud, first in the original and then in translation, until hoarseness sets in; animating the author’s story through my senses, using my nose, my ears, my eyes, and my fingers; devouring every clue to imprint the range of the author’s voice (humor, anger, grief, detachment) on my translation. (Lara Vergnaud, The Paris Review)

• The translator-reader contract: the tole of the ‘active’ reader

I think of Renee Gladman, poet, novelist and translator, asking her interviewer in an interview: ‘When you’re reading translations, don’t you sometimes feel the racing heartbeat of the translator trying to get shit right?’ /…/ And the question is: Well, do you? Do I? Reading translations, is this the kind heat that you – or indeed I – want to feel? Or no, not really, not al all? (Kate Briggs, This Little Art)

• Publishing perspectives: how publishers and booksellers tackle life writing in translation – the ‘three percent problem’

We welcome academics, translators, poets, writers, booksellers and publishers and invite proposals for individual papers, dialogues/interviews, panels, round tables and creative or reflective submissions. Please send your proposals via email to

Conference language: English Suggested formats: − Individual paper (15 minutes slot, abstract max. 300 words) − Dialogue/Interview (30 minutes slot, 2 participants, abstract max. 300 words) − Panel (60 minutes slot, 3 participants including chair, abstract max. 600 words) − Round Table (45 minutes slot, 3/4 participants, abstract max. 600 words) − Creative/Reflective Submission (15 minutes slot, fiction and non-fiction, proposal max. 300 words) Deadline for proposals: 23 December 2019 Notification of acceptance: 27 January 2020

Deadline for Submissions December 30, 1019

Call for Papers

Life Writing in Translation (Conference)

King’s College London / Centre for Life-Writing Research / 27 May 2020

The Centre for Life-Writing Research is a pioneering group producing some of the most innovative work in the field. Established in 2007, and now part of the Arts & Humanities Research Institute, it enables experts and students to share, research and exchange ideas with a wider audience.
We work on all sorts of topics and periods covering a wide range of genres – biography, autobiography, autofiction, diaries and letters, memoirs, digital life writing including social media, blogs, audio and video, the visual arts (especially portraiture), poetry, and medical narratives. What connects us is an interest in the theory, history and practice of life writing.

It’s more that when it comes to writing and reading translations the question of what is wholly normal or truly plausible, of what was really said or written, gets suspended, slightly. The translator asks me to agree to its suspension. To suspend, or to suspend even further, my disbelief. /…/ Which is to say: before we’re even in the position to critique or worry over the decisions made by the translator, some provisional agreement has already been made. We have accepted the book in English. We have accepted that the book is now written in what appears to be English. (Kate Briggs, This Little Art)

As a one-day conference, Life Writing in Translation proposes to address such topics as:

  • Stylistic approaches to translating life writing: using style to translate mind, foregrounding, ambiguous translation, belle infidèle, the implied translatorA reader of translation will receive a sort of split message coming from two different addressers, both original although in two different senses: one originating from the author which is elaborated and mediated by the translator, and one (the language of the translation itself) originating directly from the translator. (Schiavi 1996)
  • Translating as re-writing: reconstructing the author’s image and lived experience, the translator’s impact, re-translationIn the case of translated autobiography, subtle variations of style may give rise to significant shifts in point of view that constructs a different persona of the autobiographer. (Xu Yun 2017)
  • Cross-cultural translation of life writing: translator as the producer of relations – is the I international?We receive these books newly made by the hands of translators, and the small contracts that those hands make, between translator and writer, reader and translator, language and language,

culture and culture, experience and experience are, as Edith Grossman puts it, as vital to our continued reading and writing, to the vitality of our language, our cultures and experiences as the books themselves. (Kate Briggs, This Little Art)

  • Becoming one: the translator’s melding with the author and its curious consequencesLike the ghostwriter, the translator must slip on a second skin. Sometimes this transition is gentle, unobtrusive, without violence. But sometimes the settling in is abrupt, loud, and even disagreeable. For me, “plunge deep” tactics that go beyond the mechanics of translation help: coaxing out references to reconstruct the author’s cultural touchstones (books, film, music); reading passages aloud, first in the original and then in translation, until hoarseness sets in; animating the author’s story through my senses, using my nose, my ears, my eyes, and my fingers; devouring every clue to imprint the range of the author’s voice (humor, anger, grief, detachment) on my translation. (Lara Vergnaud, The Paris Review)
  • The translator-reader contract: the tole of the ‘active’ readerI think of Renee Gladman, poet, novelist and translator, asking her interviewer in an interview: ‘When you’re reading translations, don’t you sometimes feel the racing heartbeat of the translator trying to get shit right?’ /…/ And the question is: Well, do you? Do I? Reading translations, is this the kind heat that you or indeed I want to feel? Or no, not really, not al all? (Kate Briggs, This Little Art)
  • Publishing perspectives: how publishers and booksellers tackle life writing in translation – the ‘three percent problem’We welcome academics, translators, poets, writers, booksellers and publishers and invite proposals for individual papers, dialogues/interviews, panels, round tables and creative or reflective submissions. Please send your proposals via email to language: English Suggested formats:
  • −  Individual paper (15 minutes slot, abstract max. 300 words)
  • −  Dialogue/Interview (30 minutes slot, 2 participants, abstract max. 300 words)
  • −  Panel (60 minutes slot, 3 participants including chair, abstract max. 600 words)
  • −  Round Table (45 minutes slot, 3/4 participants, abstract max. 600 words)
  • −  Creative/Reflective Submission (15 minutes slot, fiction and non-fiction, proposal max. 300 words)
  • Deadline for proposals: 23 December 2019 Notification of acceptance: 27 January 2020
Deadline for Submissions December 30, 1019

Special Issue on Post-millennial Indian Graphic Narratives (12/30/2019)

Guest Editors: E. Dawson Varughese, Sakshi Wason and Varsha Singh

The post-millennial years have witnessed significant developments in the field of popular visuality in South Asia and for India at least, a liberalised economy, advancements in digital technology, satellite television, urban beautification projects and a publishing boom have all shaped what we see, how we see it and why we see it. Within this post-millennial, economic, socio-cultural context Indian graphic narratives have taken their place and now, nearly twenty years into a sustained and successful period of their production, there is need to take stock of the field, reflecting on their creation, circulation, on artistic practice as well as domestic and global reception. Although the early years of the 2000s saw steady production and (in particular, domestic) circulation of Indian graphic narratives, research and scholarship has taken a little time to gain similar momentum but as the canon of creative work has grown, scholarship, particularly in the last seven to ten years has proved to be more sustained, more global and wider in its scope of enquiry. The field now enjoys some key academic texts in addition to many chapters and academic papers. The aim of this Special Issue is to publish a selection of academic papers that take stock of the field, reflecting on, exploring and presenting key themes, tropes and directions that the Indian graphic narratives scene has known over the last 15-20 years. Several invited, creative pieces will also appear in the Special Issue.

As editors, we are interested in examining the last twenty years of Indian graphic narratives production through the following (and other related) topics, keeping in mind the over-arching theme of ‘reflection’ and ‘taking stock’:

  • The post-millennial Indian publishing scene and Indian graphic narratives (global corporates, domestic, independent presses and story houses)
  • Theoretical approaches to post-millennial Indian graphic narratives (‘West and East’ notions of visuality, ‘reading’ graphic narratives and production as possible topics)
  • Graphic narratives of the early post-millennial years – Sarnath Banerjee, Orijit Sen, Vishwajyoti Ghosh as examples
  • Comics collectives in India and co-created/curated anthologies of graphic narrative work
  • Hindu epics, mythology, the dystopian in Indian graphic narratives (such as the works of Appupen, Amruta Patil as examples)
  • Biography-based Indian graphic narratives
  • Socially-engaged Indian graphic narratives
  • Graphic non-fiction (such as the First Hand volumes of work)
  • Indian graphic narrative artistic production and research (practice-based research papers are welcome)

We invite academic papers of around 5000-7000 words formatted according to T&F’s Reference Style of Chicago Author-Date [For full information on this style, see The Chicago Manual of Style (16th edn) or (click on the tab marked author-date to ensure you are using the right style)]


CfP in circulation: July to December 2019

Deadline for full papers: 30th December 2019

Decisions on papers between 31st January – 29th February 2020

Revisions on papers to be completed during March – May 2020

Preparation for Publication June 2020 – December 2020

Publication of Special Issue in 2021

For initial queries please email Dr E. Dawson Varughese:

Contact Info:

Primary Respondent: Emma Dawson Varughese, Independent Scholar UK and Snr Fellow at Manipal Centre for Humanities, Manipal, India

Fellow Respondents: Sakshi Wason, the University of Delhi, India, Varsha Singh, IIT Jammu, India



Deadline for Submissions, December 31, 2019



Travelers through the Heart(s) of Empire

Wednesday 17th –

Friday 19th June


Reid Hall, Paris


–     David A. Chang (University of Minnesota)

–     Nika Collison (Haida Gwaii Museum)

–     Michael H. Crowe (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)


In 2006, Anishinaabe artist Robert Houle (Sandy Bay First Nation) conceived Paris/Ojibwa during his residency at La Cité des Arts in Paris. Partly a commemoration of the 1845 visit of Maungwudaus and his troupe of performers, and partly a “reply” to the contemporary responses of French writers and artists the work reflects on the history and politics of encounter, and on disappearance. The piece recalls Indigenous ties to the land, while also alluding to the untimely deaths of members of Maungwudaus’s troupe and family while on tour. The resulting installation invited renewed encounter between Parisian publics and that Anishinaabe history, through a contemporary Anishinaabe presence in the city.

This conference, drawing on the work of the “Beyond the Spectacle: Native North American Presence in Britain” project, seeks to build on the growing body of work examining Indigenous travel across the Atlantic, broadening the scope of our present project from Britain to Europe more broadly, and from North American/transatlantic to global concerns. If Houle’s project is one example of the ways travel both creates and illuminates historical memory, while also offering the opportunity to examine and enliven ongoing connections between Indigenous and European spaces and communities, how else do these legacies of colonialism manifest on European soil? How do they critique and commemorate that past?

How do/can they transcend the colonial context? And what do they mean to contemporary communities, whether Indigenous or European? Maungwudaus and others left accounts of their experiences in Europe; what do those accounts, and contemporary reverberations such as Houle’s artwork, do to their public audiences’ understanding of the spaces they travelled through, as well as the places they came from? How do they inflect an Indigenous-centred understanding of the transnational turn; deflect or otherwise destroy the binary of Indigenous (local/static) and modern (global/mobile); or contribute to the exigencies of post-Imperial history and its implications in other fields? And finally, what practical, material change can the examination of these moments and modes of encounter, in spaces that invite collaboration between Indigenous and European participants, bring about for current practice in academia, museum studies, and the culture industry more broadly, particularly in regard to the relationships between institutional practitioners and communities?

We welcome the full range of traditional approaches—20 minute papers, panels, roundtables—and are very open to more innovative responses to subject matter—poster presentations, video presentations, performances, collaborative/interactive sessions, as well as to non-academic proposers.

Topics that may be covered include, but are not limited to:

–       Historic and contemporary journeys by both individuals and groups—their root causes and impacts, e.g.: Sport, military (esp. the First and Second World Wars), activism, commerce, diplomacy, captivity, and performance

–       Commemorations /reverberations of historical journeys

–       The legacies of travel to home communities (incl. artistic and literary responses)

–       The ‘residues’ of travel in destination communities (incl. artistic and literary responses)

–       ‘encounter’ between different groups of non-European travellers

–       How to make European archives more accessible to Indigenous scholars and communities

–       Decolonizing European archives and institutions

–       Fostering Indigenous-centred Indigenous Studies in Europe

–       What it means to be gathering in Paris (or any other major city of a colonising power)

–       Fostering mutual, ethical relations between IS practitioners in Europe and Indigenous communities

–       Reframing Centre and Periphery

–       Confronting/transcending the spectacle

Papers: please send 250 word abstracts and a short bio.

Panels: panel proposals of no more than 3 speakers should include a 100 word summary of the overall theme, plus 250 word abstracts per speaker. Please include short bios for all contributors, including chairs/respondents.

Roundtables: please outline the proposed discussion in roughly 250-300 words and include bios of all intended participants that make clear how they will contribute to the discussion.

All Other Formats: please describe the intended contribution in 250 words or so, include a brief bio, and a full list of any facilities (space dimensions, audio-visual, etc.) that would be required so that we can understand feasibility.

Please send all proposals to: by 31 December 2019.

Deadline for Submissions January 1, 2020

Storytelling and Identity through Digital Media

deadline for submissions: 
January 1, 2020


Storytelling, Self, Society
contact email: 

Digital media has drastically altered the way ordinary folk and professional users develop, tell, and share stories of culture. It challenges notions of authenticity and truth and the ethics of who has the privilege to tell a story. This special issue of Storytelling, Self, Society will investigate the way digital media has specifically altered practices such as narrative, character/identity, culture, story creation, and dissemination. Research questions might include: How do public and private users develop cultural media? What are the effects of insider and outside digital storytelling practices on identity formation? What constitutes authenticity and truthfulness in digital storytelling practices? Who has the right to tell a story online and from which perspectives? How can digital storytelling practices reframe identity and culture narratives for ordinary folk? How do people work within the limits of the media to tell narratives of identity and culture? What is the futurity of cultural digital media narrative artifacts? What is the impact of cultural digital narratives on travel and tourism? Are there differences between digital narratives and those told in person? What creative digital media projects are currently being employed to discuss narratives of identity and culture? What dissemination practices reach audiences most effectively? How do diverse audiences respond to or reflect the impact of digital stories of identity and narrative?

List of potential topics:

● Authenticity and truthfulness

● Ethics of identity shaping

● Social media

● Augmented/Virtual Reality

● Video games

● Video storytelling and Vlogs

● Character creation

● Gamer identity

● Identity groups (ex. LGBTQ+, Latinx)

● Avatars

● Public vs. personal identities

● Public History


Deadline for Submissions January 1, 2020

Call for Papers for an Edited Book on

The Future of Holocaust Testimonies:

Preserving, Researching, and Re-Presenting Survivor’s Voices

Boaz Cohen (WGC), Wolf Gruner (USC), Miriam Offer (WGC),
and Thomas Pegelow Kaplan (ASU)

Survivors and their testimonies have been central to Holocaust research and memorial culture. Even before the end of the Shoah, survivor historians in parts of Eastern Europe liberated from Nazi occupation collected testimonies and conducted interviews with fellow survivors. These practices constituted an integral part in rebuilding lives, coping with trauma, and shaping collective memories (Laura Jockusch). The 1960s trials of Nazi perpetrators, which were increasingly driven by Holocaust survivor-witnesses, laid the groundwork for the transformation of survivors into “survivors” in courtrooms from Jerusalem to Frankfurt/Main (Carolyn J. Dean). By the late 1970s and early 1980s, the beginning “era of the witness” (Annette Wieviorka), survivors and their testimonies were subject to further changes in increasingly transnational Holocaust memory cultures. Accompanying the rise of Holocaust Studies in North America and parts of Europe, survivors assumed often prominent positions in public discourse, frequently spoke in communities, schools, and universities, and—imbued with moral authority—conveyed a range of lessons about past and future genocides. During the 1990s, audio-visual projects, most noteworthy by the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation (now USC Shoah Foundation), recorded Holocaust survivor voices around the globe in unprecedented numbers, further elevating their standing and significance. At the same time, international Holocaust scholarship shifted from a preoccupation with perpetrator records to the voices and agency of persecuted Jewish populations that had already been at the center of the work of many Israeli scholars for decades.


At the end of the twenty-first century’s second decade, most adult survivors of the Holocaust are no longer with us and more and more child survivors – brought into sharp focus by the recent death of prominent survivor-activists like Eva Kor – are passing away. In the U.S. today, the number of survivors has shrunk by about half to under 70,000 in the span of the last decade. In Israel, the survivor population had fallen to less than 150,000 by 2015. Estimates for 2025 put this figure closer to 45,000. In response, various organizations have stepped up their efforts to record accounts from remaining survivors. The USC Shoah Foundation has introduced its “New Dimensions in Testimony” project that records three-dimensional, interactive testimonies of Holocaust survivors, which it is making available at museums throughout the United States.


With fewer and fewer survivors remaining among us, educators and researchers need to reconsider how and in what forms Holocaust scholarship and the memory of the Holocaust will continue. The main focus will certainly be the legacy that survivors leave behind in the forms of written, audio, and video testimonies. Holocaust testimonies have been studied in a myriad of ways. Many scholars have analyzed the devastating impact of the genocide on the survivors. They have focused on a range of factors from trauma to identity formation. Others have examined the transmission of survivor testimony to their children and grandchildren, who have their own stories to tell and are profoundly shaped by what some have conceptualized as “postmemory” (Marianne Hirsch). A different body of scholarship has shed light on survivors and their testimony in the broader societal contexts of Holocaust consciousness and memory. Still others, especially some cohorts of historians, have shifted the focus back to what these testimonies reveal about the actual events of the Shoah. A number of historians have proposed to take these sources at face value and dismissed approaching them with “cautious skepticism” (Jan Gross). Still others have compared larger bodies of testimonies, constructed “collected” and “core” memories (Christopher R. Browning), and used them as the main sources for monograph-length studies of the Shoah.


This edited volume sets out to reevaluate the study and role of Holocaust testimonies in the twenty-first century. The prospect of a world without Holocaust survivors poses profound challenges, precisely because their testimony has become so central to Holocaust memory, education, and research since the 1980s. Scholarly work on survivor testimony is done today in many academic disciplines. The rich and varied corpus of testimonies requires the collaborative efforts of researchers across disciplines to enable us to hear the voices of survivors articulated through their testimonies. This volume takes stock of the extensive work that has been accomplished, discusses the challenges, and explores new ways of preserving, analyzing, and re-presenting Holocaust survivor testimonies at this critical time.


In light of these objectives, we are welcoming contributions by scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from history and literary analysis to linguistics and genocide studies as well as from psychology and neuroscience to anthropology and memory studies. The editors encourage a broad variety of approaches from empirically oriented case studies to theoretical and methodological reflections. We also invite comparative work, contrasting testimony by Holocaust survivors with survivors of other genocides, and cross- and transnational studies. Lastly, we only accept work that has not already been published elsewhere.


The essays should address some of the following questions without being limited by them:


  • What are the meanings and conceptualizations of “Holocaust testimony”?
  • What are the key methodological and theoretical approaches in the study of Holocaust testimonies? What are these approaches’ accomplishments and shortcomings and how can we sharpen our readings of these invaluable sources?
  • How should Holocaust testimonies be classified and categorized?
  • What role do gender, occupation, age, place, and/or time play?
  • What are the insights and challenges of analyzing multiple testimonies given by the same survivors at different times after 1945?
  • How does video testimony differ from other forms of testimony (written, audio and the like)? What specific approaches does the study of these testimonies require?
  • How do the changing contexts (oral history, courtroom testimony, public presentation, conversation among survivors and the like) in which testimonies are given impact their form and outcome?
  • How have Holocaust testimonies shaped the construction of history and memory cultures? To what extent did the increasing significance of testimonies and their collection since the 1990s reflect a crisis in confidence in academic history and the work of professional historians and scholars of related disciplines? How do testimonies affect and/or change historical understanding and memorialization?
  • What insights do early Holocaust testimonies (of the 1940s and 1950s) convey? How do they differ from later testimonies (since the 1980s)? Is there a need for re-reading and re-interpretation and what forms would it take?
  • What are the challenges of a time in the not too distant future, when there will be no more Holocaust survivors to give testimony?
  • What is the role of second- and third-generation Holocaust testimony? What are the prospects and limits of concepts such as postmemory? What can we learn from studies of intergenerational transmission of trauma and resilience?
  • What are the prospects and limitations in the use of three-dimensional, interactive testimonies of Holocaust survivors such as the USC Shoah Foundation’s “New Dimensions in Testimony” project for Holocaust education, memory, and research?
  • What strategies have Holocaust deniers employed to undermine Holocaust testimonies? What is the role of survivor-witnesses and their testimonies in combatting Holocaust denial?


Please submit an abstract of up to 400 words (including title) and a 100-word bio to Boaz Cohen (, Wolf Gruner (, Miriam Offer (, and Thomas Pegelow Kaplan ( by Jan. 1, 2020.


Contact Info:


Dr. Boaz Cohen


Holocaust Studies Program

Western Galilee College, Akko

Western Galilee College

P.O. Box 2125

Akko  24121



Dr. Wolf Gruner

Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies

Founding Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research

University of Southern California

Department of History

3502 Trousdale Parkway

Social Sciences Building (SOS) 262

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0034



Dr. Miriam Offer

Holocaust Studies Program

Western Galilee College, Akko

Western Galilee College

P.O. Box 2125

Akko  24121



Dr. Thomas Pegelow Kaplan

Leon Levine Distinguished Professor of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies
Director, Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies
Professor of History

Appalachian State University
P.O. Box 32146
Edwin Duncan Hall, Room 102B
Boone, NC 28608



Deadline for Submissions January 10, 2020

Call for Papers:

Epistolary Forms in Film, Media and Visual Culture

Edited by Catherine Fowler and Teri Higgins

“We are living in a great epistolary age, even if no one much acknowledges it. Our phones, by obviating phoning, have reestablished the omnipresence of text. Think of the sheer profusion of messages … that we now send. “(Sally Rooney, 2019)

As Irish novelist Sally Rooney observes, despite the frequent assumption that technological advances provide constantly new forms of communication, these new forms: the email, the blog, the text message, the tweet, the update are actually haunted by old ‘epistolary’ forms: the letter and the diary. Both the letter and the diary have strong historical relationships to privacy, secrecy and intimacy, as well as to anonymity masquerade and deception, all notions that are both prevalent and highly contested in our current age. By focusing on the connection between a wide-range of media and these epistolary forms our aim is to consider their continuing significance for the mediation of self-expression and the building of relationships.

On the one hand, in mainstream cinema epistolary forms appear to produce storytelling that focuses on emotion rather than action, as such, they challenge the superficiality of post-feminist narratives centered on consumption and continue the melodramatic tradition, specifically the protagonist’s “desire to express all… [and] give voice to their deepest feelings” (Brooks, 1991) (See You’ve Got Mail [1998], Bridget Jones’s Diary [2001], Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants [2005], The Lake House [2006] P.S I Love You [2007], The Young Victoria [2009], Julie and Julia [2009], and most recently, I Love Dick [2016], Love, Simon [2018], and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before [2018]). Several films also ask us to consider emotional masculinity; specifically the relationship between men, vulnerability, and letter writing ([Dear, John (2010], and Love, Simon 2018], and Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower 2012]). On the other hand, we find masquerade and deceit as the counter to intimacy and emotional expression. These themes are increasingly prevalent as epistolary forms move online (A Cinderella Story [ 2004] as a digital take on a classic, Sierra Burgess Is a Big Loser, [2018], as the most recent re-telling of Cyrano de Bergerac, and in the omniscient narration of Gossip Girl [2007-2012]).

In less mainstream film and media letters, diaries, emails, and blogs have provided ways to play with the space of the personal and auto-biographical, providing intersections with the Essay Film genre. In this space epistolary forms offer genres of self-expression that adopt intimate, emotional, confessional tones; in contrast to the essayistic they are often characterised by a lack of reflection, as writers are too close to experiences, unable to make sense of them, writing them in the moment and/or caught up in the quotidian detail. Hamid Naficy finds epistolary forms particularly prevalent for expressions of exile ‘driven by distance, separation, absence and loss’ (Naficy, 1992: 101), (for example, Mona Hatoum’s Measures of Distance [1988] and Fernando Solanos Tangos: Exile of Gardel [1985]). Naficy’s words fit Indigenous collectives: the Chiapas media project (for Zapista communities in Mexico) who have created politicised videos that use ‘letters, interviews and testimonials’ (Davis et al, 2015: 54) and independents from Chantal Akerman and Jonas Mekas to Abbas Kiarostami (with Victor Erice).

Beyond cinema, in the art world and on other media, it is the themes of intimacy, privacy self-expression and masquerade raised by letters and diaries that we find most frequently addressed. Artist Hito Steyerl, writing about online scamming letters, has gone so far as to argue that: ‘[t]he strongest affective address of the digital happens in the epistolary mode. As a brush with words divorced from actual bodies.’(58) Meanwhile visual artists including Sophie Calle and Miranda July have created subversive melodramas from their use of letters and diaries.

The goal of this proposed collection is to embark on a deep engagement with epistolary forms and their presence in culture and on screen. We look forward to hearing from contributors working on all aspects of film, media and visual studies who share an interest in the many connections between the audio-visual and epistolary forms. Contributors may choose to focus on a specific film or media text or pursue an analysis that draws from a range of examples. As ‘epistolary forms’ we include letters, diaries, emails, blogs, texts, tweets and online social media.

Proposals may consider (but should not be limited to) the following themes and issues:

  • Histories of epistolary forms in film and media
  • Re-defining self-expression on screen
  • Implications for contemporary representations of intimacy
  • Relationships with gender & sexuality, especially masculinity
  • Intersectionality and epistolary forms
  • Centrality to cultures of confession,
  • Re-inventions of emotionality
  • Extending notions of masquerade
  • Relationships with genres (melodrama, romantic comedy, exile cinema, essay film)
  • World Cinema/race, ethnicity, the inter-cultural
  • Relation to other media forms (television; video games; social media)
  • The letter in the digital age (social media; scams)
  • Instagram and other social media platforms as diaristic forms

Proposals of up to 350 words, along with a short bio should be sent to the editors: and by January 10th 2020. Final chapters will be due January 2021. Details regarding publication (publisher and timeline) will be sent when proposals are accepted.


Brooks, Peter. “The Melodramatic Imagination.” Imitations of Life: A Reader on Film and  Television Melodrama. Ed. Marcia Landy. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991.  50-68.

Davis, Glyn, Kay Dickinson, Lisa Patti and Amy Villarejo. Film Studies – A Global Introduction. London and New York: Routledge, 2015.

Naficy, Hamid. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Steyerl, Hito. “Epistolary Affect and Romance Scams: Letter from an Unknown Woman.” October, Vol. 138, (Fall 2011), pp. 57-69.

Contact Info:

Associate Professor Catherine Fowler, University of Otago and Dr Teri Higgins, Independent Researcher, Montreal.


Deadline for Submissions: January 15, 2020

Call for papers: Autofiction in the Age of the Self(ie)
Special Issue of English Studies in Canada

Deadline for abstracts: January 15, 2020
Deadline for final essays (6000-9000 words): August 15, 2020
Submit to:

If the late nineties and early oughts witnessed what Leigh Gilmore has termed a ‘memoir boom’, the intervening years have seen the rise of a new genre: autofiction. Coined by Serge Doubrovsky in 1977 and initially associated with French writers, the term—and the self-fictionalizing practices it designates—have exploded into the international mainstream.

Although there is no critical consensus about what constitutes this genre–or whether it should even be considered a distinct genre–examples of works that blur the line between autobiography and fiction have increased wildly over the past several decades in the US, Canada, Scandinavia, Germany, and elsewhere. Both the corpus and the conversation are broadening to encompass a range of texts and approaches by writers whose work falls between and beyond traditional publishing industry categories such as autobiography, memoir, confession, essay, and fiction.  Some scholars are using this lens to trace lineages with earlier writers and genres such as the roman-à-clef.

Autofiction has been touted by some as a productive response to the commodification, digitization, and proliferation of the self in a contemporary culture that has called the very nature of ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ into question. Others – particularly racialized writers and women—have rejected the label, arguing that it overvalues or mischaracterizes the autobiographical dimension of their writing, further entrenching pernicious stereotypes. Is autofiction a reaction against the selfie, or simply another manifestation? Does the label refer to a new form of writing, or is it just a new way of describing metafictional techniques that have appeared in literature since The Canterbury Tales?

This special issue invites papers that consider these questions or any aspect of autofiction and its associated genres (autotheory, biofiction, creative nonfiction, etc.). Authors are welcome to discuss works that have been translated into English, and are particularly encouraged to focus on women, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, disabled, and otherwise marginalized writers.

Please submit abstracts of 500 words to Dr. Myra Bloom by January 15, 2020. Final essays (6,000-9,000 words) are due August 15, 2020.

Myra Bloom
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Glendon College, York University
2275 Bayview Avenue
Toronto,  ON M4N 3M6
Tel: 416-736-2100 (x88597)

Deadline for Submissions January 15, 2020
Conference: Comics, Migration, MinoritiesDATE: June 3–5, 2020
VENUE: School of History, Culture and Arts Studies at the University of Turku, Finland
SUBMISSIONS close by January 15, 2020; presenters will be notified by January 31, 2020The Comics, Migration, Minorities conference welcomes comics scholars, comics artists, educators, cultural workers, teachers, activists and other representatives of the comics field interested in the different ways in which comics, migration and minorities intermingle. There is currently an international boom in migration-themed comics, but migratory movement has had an effect on comics throughout the art form’s history.
In the last decade, comics have become an important forum for the depiction and discussion of various aspects of migration. Comics depict forced displacement, seeking refuge, asylum-seeking processes, detention policies, border control and violence, labor migration, international adoption, and studying abroad. Through their stories they explore and reflect diasporic and minority identities, the differences between immigrant generations, family histories, memories of former homelands, and the different experiences and emotional aspects of involuntary and voluntary migration.
Migration has become a prominent issue in comics of a whole range of genres, including both fictional and documentary comics. Comics autobiographies and biographies, journalism and historical narratives have recorded migration in different parts of the world and displayed personal histories and social analyses. Fictional stories for adults, young adults and children have highlighted the predicaments of refugees and others on the move. Comics are also an activist and educational medium in the fight for immigrant rights and against xenophobic and racist policies and sentiments.
Whose stories are told in comics, whose voices are heard in them, and who gets to tell graphic narratives are central questions when considering the narration of migration, as well as regarding the relationship between hegemonic majority groups and minority groups in societies at large and in comics fields in particular. Cross-border migration and the formation of immigrant communities are shaped by historical and current power relations and processes of colonialism and slavery, white supremacy, growing global neo-fascism and racialization, as well as formations such as Fortress Europe and border policing. Questions concerning representation and diversity in comics and the field of comics are not delimited to issues of migration, however. While the focus of the conference is on migration and comics, a broader discussion on diversity and the similarities and intersections of minority positions is encouraged.
We welcome proposals for individual presentations in the traditional academic format (20-minute presentations with a 10-minute discussion), but we also encourage proposals of alternative presentation forms (e.g., roundtables and workshops) on topics related, but not limited, to the following:

  • Migration and minorities in various comics genres
  • The representation of migrants and other minorities in comics
  • Displacement and seeking refuge in comics
  • Ethics of narrative and representation
  • Histories and memories of migration
  • Labor migration, studies abroad and international adoption in comics
  • Asylum-seeking processes, detention policies, and border control and violence in comics
  • Racism, xenophobia and stereotypes in comics
  • Activism and social justice initiatives
  • Comics and political discourses about migration and minorities
  • Comics as a tool for integration
  • Comics as a tool for education about migration and minorities
  • Comics in language education for migrant groups
  • Diversity in the comics field
  • Comics by migrant and minority creators and in minority languages

The conference’s invited plenary speakers are:

Please submit an abstract of your proposed presentation in English by January 15, 2020, as an attachment to the email address The abstract should be no longer than 200 words. Please include your name, affiliation and contact information in the abstract document. Authors of submissions will be notified by January 31, 2020. For further information, please contact In due time, information concerning the conference will be found on the conference web page at
Should you be interested in combining attendance at the Comics, Migration, Minorities conference with another conference, the call for papers for the IABA World Turku 2020 – Life-Writing: Imagining the Past, Present and Future conference (to be held in Turku, Finland, June 9–12, 2020) is open until October 15, 2019. More information can be found at the conference website:

The Comics, Migration, Minorities conference is organized by:


Deadline for Submissions January 20, 2020

24, 25 & 26 June 2020 (Le Mans University, France)
Sharing War Memories – From the Military to the Civilian

International Conference initiated by  Professor Renée Dickason (Université Rennes 2), Professor  Stéphanie Bélanger (Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario) and Professor Delphine Letort (Le Mans Université)

War narratives are subject to emphases, orientations and points of view that give a particular flavour to wars fought by populations (anonymously, individually and/or hidden in an organisation, secret or not)  and by the military (from high command to the ‘unknown soldier’). Such accounts evolve with the benefit of hindsight, the writing of history textbooks and the constant (re)interpretations of archives (new or not) and the official version a country wishes to put forward according to its political agendas and visions of patriotism, citizenship and human rights, or its diplomatic or international policy objectives. The narratives of wars vary with the context and the need for men and women to express their inner feelings when faced with the torments and human atrocities of war; they also reflect the place of individuals within a group and the implications of group cohesion within the larger community.

Civilians’ knowledge of the war effort and the involvement of the military is informed by two types of documents: primary sources (letters, emails, photographs, videos, testimonies, trench gazettes, blogs, etc.) provide direct information about the war experienced at an individual level, whereas secondary sources mediate these artefacts by incorporating them into another narrative.

The artefacts of war become the original materials which museums and memorials turn into places of memory, while feature films provide a less direct approach as they often (re)mediate the original accounts of first-hand witnesses through documentary, ethno-fiction, docudrama or more generally through fiction. These documents show a possible encounter between the military and civilian spheres, especially when the two are separated either in time or space.

Civilians learn about past and distant wars through the narratives built on them and through the images produced either by the military themselves, by news reporters embedded with them or following in their footsteps, or by historians. Journalistic records often frame the understanding of war by shining light on events hidden from the public gaze, by illuminating the conflicts or the complicity between civilian witnesses and members of the military. Whether intended to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the indigenous populations or to denigrate the enemy by reductive stereotyping, military strategies condition how armed forces regard the ‘Other’. Humanitarian groups approach war with a different goal in mind; their representations of war emphasize the dangers for civilian populations trapped by an ongoing conflict and reintroduce human concerns where war technology erases them. The case of civilian hostages is of particular relevance in this context.

This conference aims to explore zones of contact between the military and the civilian worlds – be they real or virtual. Zones of contact extend beyond the battlefields to civilian areas, where the enemy is sometimes conflated with undeclared combatants (especially in the age of terrorism). Soldiers may also find respite in the civilian life that wars disrupt but cannot completely annihilate. The contacts between the military and the civilians are often channeled by professional relationships. Doctors, nurses, drivers, journalists, artists… provide a link between two worlds that outsourcing has brought closer together in the contemporary era.

Both volunteers and conscripts undergo a change of status when they join the armed forces. The transition from the civilian to the military world may be a life-changing event, but it may also become part and parcel of one’s daily rhythm as war can increasingly be pursued without even leaving the home country (for example, with the development of drone technology). How do the military manage to attract civilians into donning the uniform? How do the veterans reintegrate into civilian life and overcome the trauma of waging war, especially when serious injury makes them unfit for further service.

The study of the relationships between the civilian and the military implies research into the artefacts of war, conveying the perception of combat by the military themselves or by the civilians observing them. This relationship is founded on a variety of objects aiming at boosting admiration for war heroes or condemnation of war criminals.

Reality turns into fiction as it becomes a political or romanticized narrative in film and on television, in literature and in the arts – and this transformation illuminates the civilians’ perception of war as well as soldiers’ perception of themselves.

In 2020, to mark the tenth year anniversary of the active and fruitful collaboration on the theme of war memories, our research groups – ACE (Rennes), the Royal Military College of Canada (Kingston, Ontario) and 3L.AM (Le Mans) – would like to offer researchers and members of civil society the opportunity to participate in workshop discussions on the subject of sexual violence and abuse perpetuated as a weapon of war, and on the fate of children in wartime, in addition to the themes in the non-exhaustive list given below.

Other possible workshops:
–  Remembering, transmitting war (commemorations, textbooks (paper or e-learning), museums…) and narrating war (children’s literature, graphic novels, essays, short stories, drama, poetry…)
– Drawing, photographing or filming war (documentaries, docu-fictions, ethno-fiction)
– Medialization of war (news bulletins, news reports, blogs, social media, websites…)
– War and the human dimension: testimonies of trauma and the management of emotions (from military to civilian points of view)
–  Childhood in wartime: mobilization of children in armed conflicts; staging children characters in, fictional and non-fictional, war narratives; writing or representing war for a young public
– Women civilians and the military in war; women as war weapons and victims

A vibrant homage will be delivered to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Denis Mukewege and his fights in Democratic Republic of the Congo

With keynote speeches by:
Jonathan Bignell (Professor of Television and Film, Reading University, United Kingdom)
Keynote provisional  title: Television and Ephemerality: Remembering and Forgetting War

Daniel Palmieri (Historian, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland)
Keynote provisional title: “Now, the World without me”.
Humanitarians and Sexual Violence in Time of War

Stéphanie Bélanger (Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario)
Keynote provisional title: Voice or Loyalty? Dealing with Memories in the Armed Forces


All submissions will be considered after the deadline of 20th January 2020.

Please send your abstract (350 words) and biography (200 words) directly to the conference website. You will need to create an account in the Submission section before filling up the fields required and uploading your document (see information on the conference website).

We will not be able to give you any news concerning the acceptance of your work before 20th January 2020.


Deadline for Submissions January 24, 2020

Experiencing Prison
7th Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference

Friday 3rd July to Saturday 4th July 2020
Bratislava, Slovakia

Prison is used world-wide as a form of punishment or detention for men, women and children, within a functioning criminal justice system, and its use can be traced back to the rise of the earliest forms of state or social organisation in which humans have lived. Prisons are variously known as jails, gaols, penitentiaries, detention centres, correctional centres, and remand centres. They can be used as a tool of political repression, or a means of detaining large groups of civilians during times of war.

Incarceration has a long history, and despite its core commonality, as an experience it has varied historically, and continues to vary, in different societies all over the world. Although imprisonment is most commonly in a building, often purpose-built, it has variously taken place on ships, in camps, on islands, and in castles, fortresses, penal colonies, quarries, sewers, cages and dungeons. Imprisonment has become the dominant form of punishment in most societies across the world, and may occur prior to trial or as a result of sentencing by a properly constituted court. Imprisonment without trial or due process occurs in various forms in most societies across the world, mostly sanctioned by the state itself, sometimes used as a political strategy by military, ideological, political or religious groups within a state, or by groups desirous of becoming a state.

The prison has become a formidable employer, sometimes the dominant employer in neighbourhoods or towns. Over time, it has also been the site of creativity: prison labour, prison art and prison literature (including poetry, drama and autobiography) have contributed hugely to our understanding both of the phenomenon of imprisonment and of the impact it has on lives. It can therefore be approached from a variety of experiential perspectives – that of prisoner, visitor, employee, volunteer, writer, artist, analyst or researcher.

The prison is a powerful metaphor as well, with the capacity to describe a challenging or difficult situation for an individual, a family or a community that seemingly presents no way out, and which presses down upon the human psyche in often unbearable ways. It has been an effective trope within literature, art, poetry and drama.

Key Topics
We welcome contributions about the prison from a wide range of perspectives, including legal, architectural, criminological, historical, geographical, fictional, psychotherapeutic, artistic, phenomenological, biographical and autobiographical points of view.

Contributions are particularly welcomed from former prisoners, detainees, incarcerated asylum seekers, former prisoners of war, political prisoners or those detained because of nationalist, religious or other convictions, those who have been to prison and have written about the experience; those who have fictionalised the prison experience in art and literature; those who have done paid or voluntary work in prison; and those who have researched the prison of the past and of the present. Additionally, we hope to hear from those involved with the architecture and design of prisons, those who are directly or indirectly involved with the delivery of incarceration,and those involved with any prisoners’ rights groups or with those who seek to ameliorate incarceration by providing therapeutic drama, literacy, education, counselling, religious support, death row support, and other services.

All genres and media will be considered, in order to examine the widest possible range of representations, past and contemporary, which inform us about the strange phenomenon of the prison with a view to forming a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration. We particularly welcome creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations, and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate.

Topics for discussion include, but are not restricted to:

Prisoners and the Prison Experience

  • ~ Types of Prisoners: political dissidents, prisoners of war, violent offenders, non-violent offenders, white collar criminals, innocent/wrongly accused, asylum seekers
  • ~ The female experience in prison
  • ~ Transgendered people in prison
  • ~ Relationships in prison: motherhood, sex, friendship and bonding, relationships with people ‘outside’
  • ~ Rape, assault and other acts of violence
  • ~ Torture in prison
  • ~ Death and dying in prison
  • ~ Social structures within the prison environment
  • ~ Prisoner interactions with guards and administrators
  • ~ Historical perspectives on the prison experience
  • ~ Race, racism and prison
  • ~ Poverty, class and prison
  • ~ Writing, art and other creative practices in prison
  • ~ Representing the prison experience in literature, theatre, TV, film, video games, music and art
  • ~ mental health in prison
  • ~ addictions, self-harm and suicide
  • ~ medical ethics and care in prison

Life After Prison

  • ~ Challenges of reintegration
  • ~ Rehabilitation and education
  • ~ Discrimination against former inmates
  • ~ Family and friends coping with the release of loved ones
  • ~ Community service and volunteerism

Prison As Institution

  • ~Prison as workplace: experiences of guards, administrators and institutional officials
  • ~ Prison spaces: architectural design in theory and practice, boot camps, work camps, open air prisons, etc.
  • ~ Technologies of incarceration
  • ~ Teaching and learning in prison
  • ~ Spirituality and religion in prison
  • ~ Counselling and other clinical experiences with prisoners
  • ~ (In)Famous prisons and their legacy (Auschwitz, Guantanamo Bay, Alcatraz, Newgate Gaol, etc.)
  • ~ Prisons and dark tourism
  • ~ Prison conditions around the globe
  • ~ Economics of incarceration: politics of awarding contracts, private vs public management, impact of prison location on local communities, etc.

Prisons in Law and Policy

  • ~ Theories and practices in rehabilitation and humane containment
  • ~ Balancing punishment and human rights
  • ~ Prison reform initiatives
  • ~ Innovative approaches to incarceration
  • ~ Relationship between justice system and corrections system
  • ~ Race, class, sex and other forms of discrimination in sentencing
  • ~ Correctional services as public policy: governmental/civil service perspectives
  • ~ National and international legal provisions around prison conditions and prisoners’ rights
  • ~ NGOs and charities working in the area of prison reform
  • ~ Social attitudes toward prison and prisoners

What To Send
The aim of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, problem-solving sessions, case studies, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc. Creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate are particularly encouraged. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.

At the end of the conference we will be exploring ways in which we can develop the discussions and dialogues in new and sustainable inclusive interdisciplinary directions, including research, workshops, publications, public interest days, associations, developing courses etc which will help us make sense of the topics discussed during the meeting. There is an intention, subject to the discussions which emerge during the course of the meeting, to form a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 10th January 2020. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chairs.

All submissions will be at least double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team, The Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 24th January 2020.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 1st May 2020.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) type of proposal e.g. paper presentation, workshop, panel, film, performance, etc, f) body of proposal, g) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Experiencing Prison Submission

Where To Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs and the Project Administrator:

Diana Medlicott:
Len Capuli (Project Administrator):

Please direct all enquiries to:

For further details and information please visit the conference web page:

Contact Info:

Diana Medlicott:
Len Capuli (Project Administrator):

Deadline for Submissions February 1, 2020
Call for Papers: “Un/Bound”
Special Issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies
36.3 Autumn 2021 Deadline: February 1, 2020Memoirs and other auto/biographical genres that describe selfhoods at, on, or over borders have long been a subject of scholarly interest but have recently acquired greater urgency. Border crossings and unbindings—the movements of bodies in space inside and across boundaries of all kinds—are at the center not just of the news but also of current discussions in life writing studies.Since 2016, every volume of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies has included essays or clusters dedicated to lives written in spaces between bounded ground or that exist in crossings between such places. Biography’s recent issue includes Marc Lamont Hill’s “From Ferguson to Palestine: Reimagining Transnational Solidarity Through Difference” as well as Gillian Maris Jones’ “Black Lives Abroad: Encounters of Diasporic Solidarity in Brazil.” Books on the subject, such as Routledge’s After American Studies: Rethinking the Legacies of Transnational Exceptionalism (Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera, 2019) and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Migrant Longing: Letter Writing Across the US-Mexico Borderlands (Miroslava Chávez-García, 2018) have proliferated, as have short-form treatments across more than 100 journals in disciplines as disparate as those represented by the Journal of Literacy Research, African and Black Diaspora, and Culture, Medicine, and Psychology.Textual lives in/of migration are clearly the focus of intensive critical attention currently. As the necessity of migration and its divisive politics intensifies, life writing about lives bound and unbound by movement in and between spaces becomes more valuable in fighting stereotypical projections and in complicating and deepening our understanding of the link between place, movement, and identity.The guest editors of this special issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies seek essays investigating how borders and boundaries function in the telling of life narratives—the sense in which lines and liminality may bind people in place, in which crossing boundaries is definitional in life writing as a genre, and in which crossed boundaries become meaningful in their own creation and in the creation of a life-as-text. This issue seeks to address such life writing from a global perspective, asking us to think about what binds or frees human beings, what constitutes a border or a margin on which a self might be or escape its definition.Proposed essays may address, but certainly should not be limited to, the following topics:

  • Border crossing and border enforcement, immigration, and refugee experiences in life narratives
  • Life in the borderlands, life in immigrant communities/families
  • Depictions and/or constructions of transnational or postcolonial identity, hybridity, international interaction
  • Issues of language and dialect
  • Effects of changing, shifting, or disputed borders and government policies on individuals and communities
  • Concepts of, and responses to, border (in)security
  • Narrative forms used to represent borders and borderlands
  • Mapping and cultural geographies in borderlands narratives
  • Methodologies used to support border research
  • Pedagogical approaches to border narratives
  • Genre and narrating lives on the move

Send original articles of 6,000-7,000 words (including works cited and notes), including keywords, an abstract, and a brief biographical statement to Helga Lénárt-Cheng ( and Megan Brown ( The guest editors welcome essays that include images and are able to print in color without author fees. a/b also publishes ancillary digital and multimedia texts on the journal’s Routledge website. Inquiries welcome.

All essays must follow the format of Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition). Essays submitted for the special issue, but not selected, may be considered general submissions and may be selected for publication. In order to ensure a confidential peer review, remove any identifying information, including citations that refer to you as the author in the first person. Cite previous publications, etc. with your last name to preserve your anonymity in the reading process. Include your name, address, email, the title of your essay, and your affiliation in a cover letter or cover sheet for your essay. It is the author’s responsibility to secure any necessary copyright permissions and essays may not progress into the publication stage without written proof of right to reprint. Images with captions must be submitted in a separate file as 300 dpi (or higher) tiff files with captions. Please indicate placement of images in the text.

This CFP stems from a call for papers originally posted for the 2020 Modern Language Association convention.
Helga Lénárt-Cheng is Associate Professor in World Languages and Cultures and Global and Regional Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California. She is co-author of a book on Alexander Lenard (Wanderer of Worlds, 2016) and of numerous articles. Her research focuses on autobiography, immigration, digital trends in life writing, and theories of subjectivity and community.
Megan Brown is Professor of English at Drake University and the author of two books: American Autobiography After 9/11 (University of Wisconsin Press, 2017) and The Cultural Work of Corporations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Her work has also appeared in Biography, Assay, Women’s Studies Quarterly, College Literature, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Cultural Studies. She teaches courses in memoir and autobiography, personal essay, and American literature.


Deadline for Submissions March 15, 2020

Autobiography: excess, self-expenditure

19th International Meeting of the Scientific Observatory of Autobiographical Memory in Written, Oral and Iconographic Form
23-24-25 June 2020

organised by the cultural association Mediapolis.Europa
in collaboration with

L’Istituto Centrale per i Beni Sonori ed Audiovisivi [Central Institute for Audio and Audio-visual Assets]


la Biblioteca di Storia Moderna e Contemporanea [Modern and Contemporary History Library]

Palazzo Mattei di Giove
Via Michelangelo Caetani 32 – 00186 Rome

“Although an entire intellectual tradition sees the flight of the soul out of its material bonds to be a positive good, another learned tradition that also goes back to ancient sources appeals to a different sense of the word ‘excess’ to designate that which goes beyond the correct proportions in the material order itself.” (Starobinski J. 2008, p. 75).

Breaking boundaries and excess constitute the prime movers of different narrations in the first person. How are these behaviours delineated in self-narration? In what way do they construct a person’s identity? With which arguments and in which relationship with the idea of Power?
With this call for papers we intend to invite proposals that consider self-expenditure and excess in autobiographical writings. That is, autobiographies by both ordinary people and recognised individuals, which are not supported, legitimated, by ideological plaudit, be it political, religious, etc.

Every culture sets ethical boundaries with which every individual confronts oneself. Crossing boundaries is allowed in certain liberating situations such as bacchanals or carnivals, but these are circumscribed in terms of time and space.
The unlimited and the infinite correspond to conceptions with different nuances: it is possible to go beyond recognised forms or to act in an infinite motus while denying the existence of boundaries. Current parlance translates the idea of boundary using a vocabulary borrowed from geometry: measure, the right way, to be square, to be conclusive (that is, to remain within a circumscribed topic or area of action), etc.

Nicomachean Ethics, a posthumous publication by Aristotle (who lived from 384 or 383 to 322 BC), places at the centre of its reasoning endoxa, the common opinions of both ordinary and learned people. These endoxa are the boundaries that derive from society’s orientation. Aristotle does not necessarily share current opinions but appropriates them as the basis of social bonding. They appear as a behavioural diktat and have a pragmatic value. In Book II of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle writes that virtue develops pragmatically: one learns how to build by building, how to play cithara by playing it, etc.

How is ethics conceived of? “this is concerned with emotions and actions, in which one can have excess or deficiency or a due mean. […] Virtue, therefore is a mean state in the sense that it is able

In medio stat virtus situates virtue in space. It is a locution of medieval scholastic philosophy that appropriated Aristotle’s conception.

to hit the mean. […] so this is another reason why excess and deficiency are a mark of vice, and observance of the mean a mark of virtue (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II, 6).

As Jean Starobinski reminds us (Starobinski J., 2008, p. 76), the term ‘excess’ in the Bible refers to the exit of life, excessus vitae. An excess that does not recognise boundaries is a serious threat to the social system. “The myth of Dom Juan came about at a moment in European history when the subject of the inconstancy of the human heart and the related subject of its various drives—feeling, knowing, dominating (libido sentienti, libido sciendi, libido dominandi)—were intensely debated by the moralists of the day” (Ibidem).

The two great myths of modernity, Faust and Don Giovanni, are condemned due to two excesses: libido sciendi and libido sentiendi. Already the Middle Ages deplored sapiens mundi. Ulysses in Dante’s Inferno is an example of this.
In fact, excess practised ad libitum aims at laying claim to an eternalisation of one’s own behaviour, a transcendentality, replacing another power.

The exhibition held at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of de Sade’s death (2014), which was organised on the basis of de Sade’s various epistolary evidence, was entitled Attaquer le soleil: that is, aspiring to deprive the universe of the vital star, using it to burn the universe itself. (Le Brun A., 2014, p. 19).

Many autobiographical narrations in Romanticism (relating to dandyism, satanism, alcoholism, and others) would make excess the centre of their own existential narration.
In “Être comme excès”, Rocco Ronchi writes: “what opens to me the immensity in which I lose myself is the being as excess, a being deprived of material reality, throbbing, rhythmical – a being which has in itself an integral transcendence, a being that is uncontainable in the shape of identity and exceeds the space that reveals apophantic judgement. This being is not immobile, its manner of being – its essence in the verbal sense – rightly resides in the fact of transcending, of rotating outside of itself (I am borrowing this sentence from Marc Bloch), of getting lost and challenging oneself” (Ronchi R., 2000, p. 8).

The term ‘self-expenditure,’ therefore, has a particular role and different significant values. In sport, self-expenditure can be identified with what is at stake, the challenge, the individual risk outside of the great apparatuses.
“The Notion of Expenditure” by Georges Bataille

. It is the principle of loss, that is, of unconditioned expenditure (Ibid., p.169). Societies in general, and the Western one due to their economic structure, do not want to squander the essence of their own assets and regard the person as an asset, a capital.
Acting in itself must not be in the service of any return or recompense. These are arguments to which Bataille returns in various writings (e.g. On Nietzsche, 1945). Concepts such as useful/useless, gratuitous/interested, arbitrary/imposed, are involved.
Is this a form of revolt? According to Camus, revolt embodies the very identity of the individual, his cogito (Camus A., 1951). The rebel does not recognise impositions: he is not a revolutionary and does not conceive of systems (revolution meaning strategic and preconceived acting aimed at achieving an ideal that overturns the status quo). The rebel fights against any ideological barrier and cage. Camus evokes the figures of Cain, de Sade, Saint-Just, Lautréamont, Rimbaud, Bakunin, Nietzsche.

Different autobiographies embody a willingness to go beyond the recognised and shared


It is possible to establish a certain distinction between the behaviour whereby a boundary is recognised and overcome, and the practice of excess as complete rejection of the boundary, such as a way of acting ad infinitum.

(1933) examines how society imposes

productivity in its entire spectrum. Society recognises the right to acquire, conserve or consume

rationally, but it excludes the principle of unproductive expenditure (Bataille G., 1985, p.137)

The idea of anti-utilitarianism is ennobling. Self-expenditure without concatenations is in many

respects a chimera. A grade-zero behaviour, without residues, cannot exist.

Nevertheless, taking shelter in the necessity of being productive (in every sense) may in turn constitute a form of power. Being losers may mean annihilating the power that the Other exerts on ourselves (Lippi 2008, p. 62).

Years ago, in an article published in Il Tempo (Pasolini P. P., 1973), Pasolini reviewed the autobiography of a Russian pilgrim, associating him with Lazarillo de Tormes. The pilgrim about whom Pasolini writes (who we understand from the text was 33 years of age in 1859) wanders with the prayer book Philokalia (love of the beautiful) and recounts his wanderings to a spiritual father. Pasolini writes that the pilgrim and Lazarillo remain invincible in their resigned nature that annihilates the very idea of power due to excess of passivity: “There is nothing that proves power wrong so much as Resignation, which is actually a refusal of power in any form (that is, it makes it what it actually is, namely an illusion)”.

With this call for papers we intend to investigate the relationship between autobiographical narration as an expression of going beyond, as a pursuit of the extreme in relation to the concept of boundary, or as a practice of excess, understanding how, stated or implied, these components constitute the framework of the argument of the writing examined.

Some biographical references


ARISTOTLE, Nicomachean Ethics, translated by H. Rackham, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd., 1934. [Fourth century BC].

Georges BATAILLE, “The Notion of Expenditure” in Visions of Excess: selected writings, 19271939, edited by Allan Stoekl, translated by Allan Stoekl with Carl R. Lovitt and Donald M. Leslie, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 1985 (Originally published in La part Maudite, Paris, Points, 1933).

Albert CAMUS, The Rebel, translated by Anthony Bower, London, Penguin Books, 2000. vv. I- Thomas DE QUINCEY, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, 1821.

Annie LE BRUN, SADE-Attaquer le soleil, Paris, Musée d’Orsay-Gallimard, 2014.

The implications of self-expenditure and the practice of excess are manifold, as you can see.

he Way of a Pilgrim: Candid Tales of a Wanderer to His Spiritual Father, translated

by Anna Zaranko with an introduction by Andrew Louth, Penguin Books, 2017.

Benvenuto CELLINI, Vita di Benvenuto Cellini, edited by Orazio Bacci, Firenze, Sansoni, 1901.

(Written between 1558 and November1562).

CASANOVA, Histoire de ma vie, Paris, Livre de Poche, 2004.

Mémoires de J. Casanova de Seingalt, écrits par lui-même, written in French, between 1789 and

1798, published posthumously in1825.

Silvia LIPPI, “De la dépense improductive à la jouissance « bavarde»”, in Transgressions. Bataille,

Lacan, edited by S. LIPPI , Toulouse, ERES, “Point Hors Ligne”, 2008, pp. 62-71.

URL:–9782749209753-page-62.htm Marie José MONDZAIN, De l’excès, Théatre/Public 178.

P. P. PASOLINI, “‘Come pregare?’ ‘Come mangiare?’ Esperienze di un Prete e di un Letterato”, in Il Tempo, 11 February1973.

Jean STAROBINSKI, “Registers of Excess,” in Enchantment: The Seductress in Opera, translated by C. Jon Delogu, New York, Columbia University Press, 2008. (Originally published as Les enchantresses, Paris, Seuil, 2005).

Lionel TERRAY, Les conquérants de l’inutile: des Alpes à l’Annapurna, Paris, Gallimard, 1961. Autobiography: excess, self-expenditure

23-24-25 June 2020 – Roma, Palazzo Mattei di Giove

LANGUAGES ADMITTED FOR THE INTERVENTIONS: English, French, Italian, Spanish. Every speaker will speak in their chosen language; there will be no simultaneous translation. A rough passive understanding would be desirable.

A) The deadline for the submission of papers is 15 March 2020. Candidates are asked to present an abstract of up to 250 words, with citation of two reference texts, and a brief curriculum vitae of up to 100 words, with possible mention of two publications, be they articles or books. These must be submitted online on the conference registration page of the Website.

The scientific committee will read and select every proposal that will be sent to the conference registration page of the Website. For any information, please contact the following:,,
Notification of the accepted proposals will be given by 30 March 2020.

B) In regard to enrolment in the colloquium, once the proposal is accepted the fees are the following:
Before 10 April 2020: 110,00
From 11 April to 10 May 2020: 130,00

Enrolment cannot be accepted in loco.

Ph.D. students:
Before 10 April 2020: 75,00
From 11 April to 10 Mai 2020: 90,00Enrolment cannot be accepted in loco.

C) For information on registration fees, past symposia, the association’s activities, and the organising and scientific teams, please refer to our Website:

The association Mediapolis.Europa contributes to the publication of the journal Mnemosyne, o la costruzionedel senso, Presses universitaires de Louvain,,
Indexed a scientific journal in:

Rocco RONCHI, “Une ontologie de l’excès”,Lignes, 2000/1 (n° 1), pp. 107-124. DOI :

Scientific Committee

Beatrice BARBALATO, Mediapolis.Europa

May CHEHAB, Université de Chypre

Fabio CISMONDI, Euro Fusion
Antonio CASTILLO GÓMEZ, univ. Alcala de Henares (Madrid) Albert MINGELGRÜN, Universite Libre de Bruxelles
Giulia PELILLO-HESTERMEYER, Universitat Heidelberg
Anna TYLUSIŃSKA-KOWALSKA, Uniwersytet Warszawski


Irene MELICIANI, managing director Mediapolis.Europa


Deadline for Submissions, April 15, 2020

Biofiction as World Literature/ La biofiction comme littérature mondiale (4/15/2020; 10/29-31/2020)  – Leuven, Belgium


Biofiction (literature that takes a real biography as its point of departure) is powered by what Colm Tóibín has recently called “the anchored imagination”, which grants the fictional narrative a certain ambiguous (almost duplicitous) credibility. But what do biographical novels mean as world-making vehicles? Is the recent boom in stories that rely on the real past, yet project contemporary visions upon it, only a sign that we are trying to build a coherent world-image of centuries past, or is it also an attempt to bring into being a new way of seeing and/or being in the present? Furthermore, does it foster new visions and teach new lessons for the future?
In the light of theories of World Literature proposed by David Damrosch, Theo D’haen, and others, and using T. O. Beebee’s method of starting from particular areas (in this case, a genre) in our exploration of transnational dynamics, we propose several complementary angles for conceptualizing Biofiction as World Literature: biofiction’s capacity of cross-cultural representation (manifested in novels likeHassan Najmi’s Gertrude, where a writer portrays a famous figure from another cultural area), its world-shaping imagery (detectable in biofictions of explorers, translators, and other cosmopolitan figures), its strong link with cultural memory (which can be traced back to the interwar versions of the roman à clef, to Woolf’s and Schwob’s experiments, and even further back into the mid-nineteenth century), its protean adaptability (seen in its mixture of modernist and postmodernist elements), its appeal to large audiences (sometimes in the form of biopics), its power to address social and political issues (in the works of Javier Cercas, Peter Carey, J. M. Coetzee, Mario Vargas Llosa, and many others) or shifting gender norms (in fictions by Anna Banti, Margaret Atwood, Annabel Abbs, Janice Galloway, etc.), its parallel developments across wide spaces and far beyond the West (with the work of Anchee Min, Amin Maalouf, Bensalem Himmich, etc.), and its ability to fuel international theoretical debates. These are just some of the aspects that recommend this genre as a lens for analyzing world-spanning literary developments.
If you are interested in more details about our approach and/or you would like to contribute to the dialogue, please consult our website for the full-length version of the Call for Papers:
You can send 300-word proposals for 20-minute papers or proposals for 90-minute panels (including a 300-word cover statement and three 300-word abstracts) to the following email address: Please include a brief bio note for each speaker (around 150 words).
The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2020.
Si elle relève en première instance de la littérature, la biofiction prend pour point de départ une biographie réelle. Elle est sous-tendue par ce que Colm Tóibín a récemment appelé « l’imagination ancrée », qui confère au récit fictionnel une crédibilité ambiguë touchant parfois à la duplicité. Mais que signifie ce genre en tant que vecteur de fabrication de mondes ? Ce boom des récits qui rejouent un passé réel, projetant sur lui un regard contemporain, est-il seulement un signe que nous cherchons à élaborer une image cohérente du monde des siècles passés ou s’agit-il plutôt d’une tentative de donner forme à une nouvelle manière de voir et/ou de se situer dans le présent ? Davantage, favorise-t-il de nouvelles conceptions et enseigne-t-il de nouvelles leçons pour l’avenir ?
A la lumière des théories relatives à la littérature mondiale développées par David Damrosch, Theo D’haen et d’autres, et utilisant la méthode de T. O. Beebee consistant dans une exploration de dynamiques transnationales à partir d’un domaine déterminé (en l’occurrence, un genre), nous proposons plusieurs perspectives complémentaires dans l’examen de la Biofiction comme Littérature mondiale : sa capacité de représentation trans-culturelle (manifeste dans des romans commeGertrude de Hassan Najmi, dans lequel l’auteur portraiture une figure célèbre d’une autre aire culturelle), ses liens forts avec la mémoire culturelle (qui apparaît dans les romans à clefs de l’entre-deux-guerres, dans les expérimentations de Woolf et Schwob et plus loin encore au XIXe siècle), son adaptabilité protéenne (dont témoigne son mélange d’éléments modernistes et post-modernistes), son attrait pour le grand public (parfois sous la forme de biopics), sa faculté à toucher des enjeux sociaux et politiques (dans les oeuvres de Javier Cercas, Peter Carey, J. M. Coetzee, Mario Vargas Llosa, et de nombreux autres) ou à affecter les normes touchant au genre (dans les fictions de Anna Banti, Margaret Atwood, Annabel Abbs, Janice Galloway, etc.), ses développements dans des espaces étrangers à l’Occident (avec les œuvres de Anchee Min, Amin Maalouf, Bensalem Himmich, etc.), et sa capacité à nourrir les débats internationaux. Il s’agit là de quelques-uns des traits par lesquels ce genre témoigne des évolutions littéraires à l’échelle mondiale. 
Pour découvrir plus de détails sur notre approche et/ ou pour participer au dialogue, veuillez consulter notre site web pour la version complète de l’argumentaire :
Nous accueillons des propositions de communications de 20 minutes (300 mots), ainsi que des propositions de sessions de 90 minutes (300 mots pour le descriptif général, tout comme pour chacun des trois exposés inclus).
Les résumés, accompagnés d’une note biographique d’environ 150 mots pour chaque participant, seront à envoyer à
La date limite pour la remise des propositions est le 15 avril 2020.


Deadline for Submissions May 1, 2020

“Autotheory”– Special Issue of ASAP/Journal (5/1/2020)

ASAP/Journal seeks critical and creative contributions for a guest-edited special issue on “autotheory.” Fusing self-representation with philosophy and critical theory, autotheory moves between the worlds of “theory” and “practice,” often exceeding disciplinary boundaries, genres, and forms. This special issue embarks on a rigorous investigation of the autotheoretical impulse as it moves across medial, disciplinary, and national borders from the 1960s to the present. In dialogue with scholars, artists, and activists, this issue will broach the central question: What are autotheory’s conditions of possibility, and what are the political, aesthetic, and cultural effects of this theoretical turn in contemporary cultural production? What are the underlying assumptions and implications of understanding autotheory as a genre, framework, performance, or practice? What kinds of reading might it invite or preclude? This issue is especially concerned with BIPOC, feminist, queer, trans and gender non-conforming, and anti-colonial and de-colonial approaches to autotheory, and the politics and ethics therein. From social media technologies and the publishing industry to the academic industrial complex and its varied, often ambivalent alternatives, autotheory’s escalating ubiquity serves as a critical provocation: why “autotheory” and why now?

Considering the rapid rise of popular and scholarly interest in works like Paul B. Preciado’s Testo Yonqui (Testo Junkie) (2008), Claudia Rankine’s Citizen (2014), Moyra Davey’s Les Goddesses (2011), and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (2015), and renewed interest in Clarice Lispector’s Água Viva (1973), Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), and Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick (1997), autotheory’s recent popularization suggests a pressing need for analogous critical discourse. Some have considered autotheory from transmedial perspectives, from Mieke Bal’s work on documentary filmmaking to Lauren Fournier’s work on conceptualism and video art. This special issue seeks to bring together leading articles that approach autotheory transmedially and transnationally, reflecting on its evolution and circulation as a way of bringing theory to life and life to theory. We seek contributions from artists, curators, filmmakers, writers, critics, scholars, activists, performers, composers, and other culture workers relating to the global contemporary arts in any medium. Autotheoretical approaches to writing are encouraged. Rather than entrench a single definition or approach, we aim to facilitate dialogue that parses autotheory from diverse critical perspectives and geographical contexts. ASAP/Journal invites 6,000-8,000 word articles exploring autotheory in ways that may include but are not limited to:

•Alternative modes of historicizing “autotheory”
•Alternative approaches to defining “autotheory”
•Indigenous autotheory and decolonial possibilities
•Autotheory in non-Western practices and contexts
•Trans, queer, feminist, and BIPOC autotheory
•Autotheory, ideology, and neoliberalisms
•Autotheory, accessibility, and questions of access
•Autotheory, canons, and anti-canonization
•Autotheory and pedagogy
•Autotheory and translation
•Autotheory and disciplinary boundaries and genres
•Autotheory’s theoretical legacies
•Autotheory and adaptation
•Autotheory and autofiction
•Autotheory and art criticism
•The ethical issues of autotheory
•The politics and aesthetics of narcissism
•Autotheory and identity politics
•Ideas of anti-memoir

Completed essays due by May 1, 2020. Please send queries or abstracts via email to the ASAP/Journal editor, Jonathan P. Eburne, at

Completed articles should be submitted to the journal’s online submission site at 

Full-length essay submissions of 6000-8000 words (including notes but excluding translations, which should accompany foreign-language quotations) in Microsoft Word should be prepared in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. All content in the journal is anonymously peer reviewed by at least two referees. If the contribution includes any materials (e.g., quotations that exceed fair use, illustrations, charts, other graphics) that have been taken from another source, the author must obtain written permission to reproduce them in print and electronic formats and assume all reprinting costs.Manuscripts in languages other than English (including Cree, French, Spanish, Portuguese) are accepted for review but must be accompanied by a detailed summary in English (generally of 1,000–1,500 words) and must be translated into English if they are recommended for publication. Essays in experimental or unusual formats are encouraged.

Authors’ names should not appear on manuscripts; when submitting manuscripts, authors should remove identifying information by clicking on “File”/“Properties” in Microsoft Word and removing identifying tags for the piece. Authors should not refer to themselves in the first person in the submitted text or notes if such references would identify them.

For additional submission guidelines, please see:

Lauren Fournier is a writer, curator, filmmaker, and SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. She is currently writing a monograph on autotheory as an artist’s practice, historicizing the autotheoretical impulse in relation to post-1960s feminist art, performance, and criticism. 

Alex Brostoff is a writer, teacher, and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation investigates how relations between human and textual bodies are autotheorized across the Americas, both within and against the contemporary identity studies from which they emerge.